The Natchitoches Rotary Club heard as it’s Tuesday, March 27 speaker, Brad Laird, the Head Football Coach at Northwestern State University. This is Coach Laird’s first season as head coach. He invited the community to a scrimmage Thursday at 7 p.m in Turpin Stadium.
Pictured from left are Rotarian Phil Habig, Brad Laird, and Club President David Zolzer (Photo by Ron McBride).
In what should be ideal conditions, NSU will stage the first of three major scrimmages of spring practice Thursday, March 29 at 7 pm in Turpin Stadium, just before the university shuts down next week for spring break.
“We’re going to set it down and go with it,” said Laird. “We’ll do a little Circle of Champions right off the bat, get the juices flowing, do 10 minutes of indo (individual drills), and then see as much live work as we can get.”
The scrimmage will be the seventh practice of 15 in spring ball, essentially serving as a mid-term exam for the Demons during a stretch when new schemes are being installed in each of the three phases. It is the second full-contact practice so far, following one last Saturday morning.
“We’ll get in somewhere around 80 reps, mixing everybody in, hitting different situations,” said Laird. “We’ve been doing down-and-distance and we’ll hit middle of the field, red zone, coming out, two-minute, just trying to cover everything and get those live reps on tape.
“Our quarterbacks will be live (eligible to be hit and tackled), and that will be the first time in spring that’s been the case, so we’ll see what they can do in game situations. It will be a great evaluation piece as we go into spring break,” he said.
As he mapped plans for spring practice early last month, Laird initially tried to pack all 15 workouts into March to wrap up with the 29th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game on Thursday night. But conflicts with classes and the ability to provide more meeting time between practices, to aid in the installation process, resulted in the decision to use spring break as a mid-point.
“I wanted to have it all done before spring break, but things happen for a reason,” said Laird. “This break comes at a great time with some bumps and bruises we have, and also, the mental fatigue not just from the X’s and O’s, but from starting January 15 with offseason and accountability of being here each day at a certain time.
“We’ll be able to rest a bit, coaches and players, and come back out of spring break ready to go for the remaining eight practices in April,” he said.
NSU will return to practice on April 10. The second major scrimmage is April 14 with the Delaney Bowl set for noon on Saturday, April 21 to conclude spring practice.